It is likely that Cyn got photos of her friends’ children with their Christmas cards, but she put them in her scrapbook in amongst her fall events, although they have a summer vibe. No doubt she sent pictures of Linda and Charlie looking one year older as well!
First, however, her friend Anne sent pictures of the previous spring and summer, before her husband’s tragic death in Cambridge.
The summer of 1955, they seem to have gone to the beach! Cyn, enjoying her new sewing machine, was busy making mother-and-daughter skirts for Anne and Janita for Christmas.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the Sheedy boys were getting older too.
And Nan and Dick Heslop were obviously proud of their daughter!
Back in Canada, after their working summer, Merle and Dix sent a picture of their boys, John, Lorne and Bruce.
These would be the cousins we were closest to, but it would be a few years before we met them.
While Cyn and Cec were happy in their new community with their little family, there were tragedies amongst her friends in England, both in Newcastle and in Cambridge. Living so far away and in touch only by letters that took so long, Cyn would have felt miserable and helpless.
7th Dec. 1954. Dearest Mummy, I was so sorry to hear from your letter on Sat. that you had flu. I do hope that you are feeling quite better now & your cheery self again. It always seems maddening to have colds etc. in the summer, so it must be extra trying to have flu in St. V. – bad enough in the snow & cold – & no wonder you felt miserable. Talking of snow & cold we have lots of both now – the snow began about a week ago – we’d had some which melted before that, but this is the light powdery kind which stays & looks so pretty. The children love it & as I have to go out with them, I put in good work shovelling the driveway – good for my figure! So far I haven’t pulled them on the sleigh as the snow is so light & not packed yet but that will come I know! We are all well & fine – I have a cold sore on my lip & an aching arm from washing the kitchen walls yesterday, that’s all!! Cec is still going back every night but it was supposed to be finished last month so I’m hoping it will end by Christmas at least! Your parcels & cards for Charlie came yesterday & I have hidden them! I had two such sad bits of news from England last week that made me feel unlike writing much. The first was from Nan, to tell me that Bill Mitchell, Irene’s husband, had died after being ill just 9 days. He had had what seemed to be indigestion for a while, then got sudden very bad pain & was taken to hospital & operated on. The operation was successful, but complications set in & despite all efforts he died. That leaves Mrs. Scott with the little boy Stephen to look after & bring up – he will be 3 in March. Isn’t that a sad beginning for a little fellow’s life? His own parents give him for adoption & then both his adopted ones die – one wonders how Mrs. Scott will ever manage as she was ill at one time, wasn’t she? Poor Bill and Irene – at least I’m glad for Irene that she went first. The other news was from Miss Smith at Coleridge School telling me that Tadek had been knocked off his bicycle and killed one morning on the way to work. The day before their little boy was one year old. I have thought of nothing else ever since & poor Anne. Life has been so hard for her & this will be such a terrible blow. Having the children to bring up alone will be such a great responsibility, but thank goodness she has them to comfort her. Both Tadek & Bill were such good, nice fellows. This is a sad letter, Mummy, for nearing Christmas time, but you know how I feel & I know you would want to know. Your Lindy & Charlie send xxx. Lots of love from us all, Cyn.
Cyn had close friends to keep in touch with, as well as her mother, and she was so fortunate that Dottie, Nan, Anne and others wrote to tell her about what was going on in their lives and to gossip about what was happening with friends and acquaintances. In her letters to her mother she mentions Joan Cox’s wedding and hopes that she will hear about it soon. The letter telling her survived and is presented here, showing quite a different voice and tone! Anne Winnick was a colleague from Coleridge in Cambridge where Cyn had taught, and since she was still teaching, caught her up with all the gossip from the school as well as the details of the wedding. And she finishes with a personal bombshell, probably why the letter was kept. Anne had married Tadek, who had come to England as a Polish soldier during the war, but has now become a British citizen and got his degree. Joan Cox’s sister also seems to have married a Pole, and they are the hosts at the wedding, with their son as the entertainment, apparently.
12 Haskington Grove
My dear Cyn,
First I must – or rather we must congratulate you both on your wedding anniversary and wish you all joy for many dozens of years to come. Thank you very much for your letter – you let me wait so long that the news piles up and by the time I write I forget it nearly all, anyhow I have such a pile today that I have to spend a shilling on the letter – an email letter would not be enough. By the time you have read it all you will be all out- flat out-exhausted – so you had better find a really comfortable seat & have a glass of something handy & a fan full on- you’ll need it!! Joan’s wedding- Tadek & I both went, it was a glorious day, the best day of the summer so far. Cambridge was even mentioned that day on the B.B.C. for having the highest temps. & the most sunshine. Joan looked very nice indeed in a white lace gown with a train & a little crown & veil – a very pretty frock, no bridesmaids. The groom & all the other gents wore morning suits & looked quite handsome. There were lots of children around and in the church little Stefan Cembrowicz kept on chanting after the parson & when the choir boys kept on kneeling down he called out “we all pop down”! The people were in fits as you can guess. In fact little Stefan was the centre of attraction all day – he is a cute little kid. The reception was held in De Freville Avenue- the house of course – & the garden which looked very nice for a change. The food was excellent & Jerome & Gwen made a good host & hostess- they had about four waitresses from somewhere – plenty of drinks & ice creams- & Stefan running around – once in the nude because his shoulder straps fell off his trousers – you should have seen & heard the dear old ladies – they were afraid to go to the rescue- Tadek had to go to the rescue in the end. When Tadek asked him in Polish where he lived he answered correctly. A telegram from your mother was read out with the others. Edward has some lovely pictures of the wedding in his window-big ones- taken at & in the church & at home. After the wedding they went off in Don’s little car with an assortment of cans & junk tied underneath by the wedding guests. The whole afternoon was really a very enjoyable affair & had a very amusing sequel for me – would you like to hear it – here goes. During the reception I recognized a girl who I thought was a teacher I had seen somewhere & apparently the same went for her because she came up to me & asked me whether she was right in thinking I taught at Coleridge as she was once on the Boys Department etc. & she sent her love to Waddy & Kay Harper. She had come up for the occasion especially from Surrey or Sussex. I gave the message to Waddy but forgot her name it was so funny- Bridie Elmper [?]. After describing her Waddy guessed it & said – “whatever is she doing here – she lives with her husband in Surrey & has no relatives here – the only person she knows lives in Royston where she taught once & on whom she was crazy in spite of being married to a fellow in the army – Don Humphris!!” “Well – that was the fellow who got married” said I- “Good Lord”– said Waddy “he ran around with Bridie even came to Coleridge to take her out when she came here & then met Kay Norman & took her about & the two women had a dreadful row over him & in the end he married someone else who was killed last year by lightning on the Royston golf course”! All this was news to me & I gasped as you can guess especially when Waddy said lots of women were crazy on Don- she apparently even went with the party to a pub now and then because she was very fond of this Bridie. Fancy Bridie coming up to the wedding & tagging her husband along too!! Did you know Don was a widower- do you remember that woman getting killed last year summer- I do. It certainly seemed funny that Waddy should give me the lowdown on this romance. Well so much for Joan.
Marion Knight is getting married in September to a R.A.F. chap from Bassingbourne whom she apparently knew from Blackpool days. She brought him to the school sports & he seemed a jolly nice fellow, not like Marion’s usual types. He is big John, little John is going into a boarding school after Xmas & Wimpole Park of course closes down in Sept. all works out very well!!!
Pearl Cutting is leaving at the end of term- this week & is going to teach in the Open Air School here – she gave in her notice here like Jessie Fisher & had no where to go – but now she has taken this job – I don’t envy her. Jessie Fisher by the way is still in her Naval school, she wrote to Pam the other week that she went to the Ascot races but but does not say whether she was in the Royal Enclosure!!! Pam searched through all the Society Magazines but could find no picture of dear Jessie!!
Do you remember meeting Brenda Brine- the new P.T. in the staff whom you said looked nice – well her life has been one eternal row with Howlett & she has told the office she can’t stick it any longer & is going to walk out at the end of term. I had a letter from your mother the other day saying how happy she was & wanting to know all about Joan’s wedding – I must answer her sometime. I met Ethel Pasquier who came over on a brief visit to England en route to the Continent, she came to Cambridge to see me (or Mrs. Desely who was away) & spent only a couple of hours here. I whisked her around the famous spots & she wrote a few postcards, one to you, gave my two pairs of nylons Marie had sent Mrs. Desely & I, & rushed back to London. She is a sweet little thing- told me of you & Cec & how happy they all are you are back in the States. Ruth & another America friend of hers Mary, were here last week Mon- Wednesday. Ruth is just the same- she came to school one afternoon to see the grand Historical Pageant the kids were giving to the public afternoon & night – you can guess how old Howlett was-Ruth thought she was awful, of course she had quite a lot of information from me first. Pam & Waddy are off to Austria on Sunday but are desperately worried as they have not heard about their passage, ticket, money, passport etc. They went to see about it today & Pam got hers, not Waddy & you ought to have seen Pam, she was more upset than Waddy about it – in the depths of despair & on the verge of tears. Sheila & the other D.Sc. Irene are very good pals now and I am so glad- you ought to hear Sheila tell old Howlett off- she went to her room one night after school & told Howlett she strongly resented her interference in her cookery lessons as had been going on lately. Old H. was so taken aback she began to soft soap Sheila & say how good she is & how grateful H. is to her for everything etc. Her Bob is still going strong – one weekend he comes to her- the other she goes to him – but poor old Sheila is worried lately about her father he has gone to a nursing home for mental trouble & strain – although he & her mother have just spent a long holiday in Norway & Sweden. Well the bigger news is coming up- Rosemary & Bill are still going strong, so strong in fact that Rosemary is going to get married! Not official yet but everyone knows! Bill is just looking for a house & Rosemary for a job in Essex near Saffron Walden where he works! What d’ye know!! She took him to the Pageant the other night- I did not go, I had Ruth etc. here but the others say she would not introduce him – he looked handsome enough with long fair hair plastered down & rather a village type – in fact Sheila says she thinks he smells!!! she could not bear to go near him. Poor Bill- poor Rosemary – but she is terribly excited- she takes him home & she goes to his home & by the things she says to me it is high time they married, if I knew Cec would not read this I would tell you a few juicy tales!! my ears flap and my eyes pop out when I listen!! Well how are you feeling- exhausted yet- well beware here comes the final knockout blow, steady yourself- take the glass in your hand for I am going to have a baby in December yes you read right – I am – Xmas Eve- but no one at school knows yet except Sheila, I dare not to tell old Howlettt I am leaving at the end of September- I shall have to go to the Office in the holiday & tell them the news- I think I shall only ask for a leave of absence now and then they won’t be so mad at me not giving in my notice before. Anyhow I really may have to go back if Tadek does not get a permanent job. Yes – it took us by surprise too – let it be a warning – don’t risk anything- not even once!!!! And to think that Jean Reed is going to all that trouble!! I’m beginning to get a bit bulgy but so far the weather has been cool & I have worn a short jacket, thank goodness only 3 more days of term, no one has noticed yet I think although this is my fifth month- but they soon will- now. Better start knitting old gal – I haven’t yet – in fact I dare not think of it. I have had to go to the hospital for lectures etc. etc. & once went to school only at 3 o’clock after hospital- saying I was not well! Luckily I have been very well- not once sick – so no one can guess. I dreamt you were having one in January – what fun!!! I think I’ll wind up – enough news for one letter & I think it deserves a speedy reply don’t you. Very much love as ever – all best to Cec. Hope you will soon revive after reading this- Anne.
P.S. Keep my baby a secret too.
P.S. Rosemary has had to move digs twice since I last wrote about her new digs – her landladies have told her to go- I wonder why!!!